The teacher, Mahesh Mahera, who spotted the tiger crossing a road into the wilderness of Boriya village in Lunawada taluka in Mahisagar district, also captured the big cat in his mobile phone.
The pictures, clicked from inside his car on February 6, went viral roaring across mobile networks of the state forest department on Saturday, which has set up camera traps in the vicinity of Boriya village to get more evidence of the tiger’s presence.
“While returning home from school in evening, I was shocked to see a tiger just 40 feet away from my car. As locals have been talking about tiger’s presence in the area, I immediately clicked its pictures from inside my vehicle,” said Mahera who teaches in Guliya primary school in the same area.
Mahera confessed to have shared the tiger’s pictures with his friends who alerted the forest officials. On Saturday, the picture landed on the mobile of principal chief conservator of forest (PCCF) Akshay Saxena who has ordered an intensive search operation to confirm the animal’s presence. He has also asked the officials to check authenticity of pictures.
“We are looking for scat (tiger feces), pug marks, big animals killed. Three camera traps have been mounted and more will be placed soon to capture visual evidence of tiger,” said Saxena. The PCCF said if tiger’s presence is confirmed in Gujarat, the department will have to go back to drawing board to redesign the wildlife conservation programme for Big Cats.